A techno-thriller (also known as technothrillers) is a hybrid genre drawing from science fiction, thrillers, spy fiction, action, and war novels. They include a disproportionate amount (relative to other genres) of technical details on their subject matter (typically military technology); only hard science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various disciplines (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the particulars of that exploration.
One of the earliest techno-thrillers is thought to be The Satan Bug (1962) by Alistair MacLean. Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy are considered to be the fathers of the "modern techno-thriller"; Crichton's book The Andromeda Strain and Clancy's book The Hunt for Red October set out the type example which defined the genre, although many authors had been writing similar material earlier, such as Craig Thomas, whom BBC News also credits as an early innovator.
Techno-thrillers focus strongly on details, especially on the technology, which is frequently of military origin. Techno-thrillers tend to have a broad scope in the narrative, and can often be regarded as contemporary speculative fiction; world wars are a common topic. Techno-thrillers often overlap, as far as the genre goes, with near-future science fiction, military fiction, and espionage fiction. To the extent that technology is now a dominant aspect of modern global culture, most modern thrillers are "techno-thrillers", and the genre is somewhat diffuse. Techno-thrillers blur smoothly into the category of hard science fiction; the defining characteristics of techno-thriller are an emphasis on real-world or plausible near-future technology. There is often a focus on military or military-political action. Techno-thrillers also overlap with conspiracy fiction and apocalyptic fiction.
Bait is a 2000 Canadian-American comedy crime film starring Jamie Foxx and David Morse. It was directed by Antoine Fuqua. The film was a huge financial failure, costing Warner Bros. $51 million but only grossing approximately $15 million.Binary (novel)
Binary is a techno-thriller novel written by Michael Crichton in 1972 under the pen-name John Lange. Crichton also directed Pursuit, a television film version. The story of both the book and the film revolve around a deadly nerve agent composed by combining two different chemicals. Hard Case Crime republished the novel under Crichton's name in 2013.Brimstone (Preston and Child novel)
Brimstone is a thriller novel written by American authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and published on August 3, 2004 by Warner Books. This is the fifth installment in the Special Agent Pendergast series and the first novel in the Diogenes trilogy that also includes Dance of Death (2005) and The Book of the Dead (2006).Command Authority
Command Authority is a techno-thriller novel, written by Tom Clancy and co-written with Mark Greaney, and published on December 3, 2013. It is Clancy's last major work of fiction and was released posthumously two months after his death. Set during the Cold War and after the events of Threat Vector (2012), the novel features President Jack Ryan and The Campus as they must deal with Russian dictator Valeri Volodin, a character widely noted as similar to real-life Russian president Vladimir Putin. The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.Digital Fortress
Digital Fortress is a techno-thriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published in 1998 by St. Martin's Press. The book explores the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens, and the possible civil liberties and ethical implications of using such technology.Executive Orders
Executive Orders is a techno-thriller novel, written by Tom Clancy and released on July 1, 1996. It picks up immediately where the final events of Debt of Honor (1994) left off, and features now-U.S. President Jack Ryan as he tries to deal with foreign and domestic threats. The book is dedicated to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who had been responsible for Clancy's worldwide success as a novelist. The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.Firefox (film)
Firefox is a 1982 American action techno-thriller film produced, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood in Panavision. It is based upon the 1977 novel of the same name by Craig Thomas.
The film was set in Russia, but Cold War considerations had Eastwood's and Fritz Manes's Malpaso Company using Vienna and other locations in Austria to double for many of the Eurasian story locations. The film was shot on a $21 million budget, the largest production budget ever for Malpaso. Of that amount, over $20 million was spent on special effects.Irumbu Thirai (2018 film)
Irumbu Thirai (English: Iron Curtain) is a 2018 Indian Tamil-language action techno thriller film directed by debutant P. S. Mithran. The film stars Arjun Sarja, Vishal, and Samantha, with Yuvan Shankar Raja composing the soundtrack.The film was produced by Vishal Film Factory and the venture began production in October 2016. The film released worldwide on 11 May 2018..Jack Cross
Jack Cross was a comic book series written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Gary Erskine. It was first published by DC Comics in 2005.Lincoln Child
Lincoln Child (October 13, 1957) is an American author of techno-thriller and horror novels. Though he is most well known for his collaborations with Douglas Preston (including the Agent Pendergast series and the Gideon Crew series, among others), he has also written seven solo novels, including the Jeremy Logan series. Over twenty of the collaborative novels and most of his solo novels have become New York Times bestsellers, some reaching the #1 position. Their first novel together, Relic, was adapted into a feature film. Child and Preston's books are notable for their thorough research and scientific accuracy.The Andromeda Strain
The Andromeda Strain is a 1969 techno-thriller novel by Michael Crichton documenting the efforts of a team of scientists investigating the outbreak of a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism in Arizona. The Andromeda Strain appeared in the New York Times Best Seller list, establishing Michael Crichton as a genre writer.The Bear and the Dragon
The Bear and the Dragon is a techno-thriller novel, written by Tom Clancy and released on August 21, 2000. A direct sequel to Executive Orders (1996), President Jack Ryan deals with a war between Russia and China, referred respectively in the title as the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon. At over 1,028 pages, it is Clancy's longest novel. The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.The Circle (2017 film)
The Circle is a 2017 American techno-thriller film directed by James Ponsoldt with a screenplay by Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers, based on Eggers' 2013 novel of the same name. The film stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, with John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly, and Bill Paxton in supporting roles. It is the penultimate performance of Headly's career and the final performance of Paxton's career, and was released just after his death in February 2017.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 26, 2017, and was theatrically released on April 28, 2017, by STXfilms and EuropaCorp. It received negative reviews but grossed $40 million worldwide against a budget of $18 million, becoming director Ponsoldt's highest grossing feature.The Hunt for Red October
The Hunt for Red October is the debut novel by Tom Clancy, first published on October 1, 1984 by the Naval Institute Press. It depicts Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius as he seemingly goes rogue with his country's cutting-edge ballistic missile submarine Red October, and marks the first appearance of Clancy's most popular fictional character Jack Ryan, an analyst working for the Central Intelligence Agency, as he must prove his theory that Ramius had intended to defect to the United States. The book was loosely inspired by the mutiny on the Soviet frigate Storozhevoy in 1975.The Hunt for Red October launched Clancy's successful career as a novelist, especially after then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan remarked that he had enjoyed reading the book. A namesake film adaptation was released on March 2, 1990, and several computer and video games based on the book have been developed. Since then, the book has become instrumental in bringing the book genre of techno-thriller into the mainstream.The Lost World (Crichton novel)
The Lost World is a techno thriller novel written by Michael Crichton and published in 1995 by Knopf. A paperback edition (ISBN 0-345-40288-X) followed in 1996. It is a sequel to his earlier novel Jurassic Park. In 1997, both novels were re-published as a single book titled Michael Crichton's Jurassic World, unrelated to the 2015 film of the same name.Tom Clancy
Thomas Leo Clancy Jr. (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013) was an American novelist best known for his technically detailed espionage and military-science storylines set during and after the Cold War. Seventeen of his novels were bestsellers, and more than 100 million copies of his books are in print. His name was also used on movie scripts written by ghostwriters, nonfiction books on military subjects, and video games. He was a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles and vice-chairman of their community activities and public affairs committees.
Clancy's literary career began in 1984 when he sold The Hunt for Red October for $5,000.
His works The Hunt for Red October (1984), Patriot Games (1987), Clear and Present Danger (1989), and The Sum of All Fears (1991) have been turned into commercially successful films. Actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, and John Krasinski have played Clancy's most famous fictional character, Jack Ryan. Another well-known character of his, John Clark, has been portrayed by actors Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber. Tom Clancy's works also inspired games such as the Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and Splinter Cell series. Clancy died on October 1, 2013. Since his death, his Jack Ryan series has been continued by his family estate through a series of authors.Westworld
Westworld is an American science fiction-thriller media franchise which began in 1973 with the release of the film Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton. The film depicts a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated by androids that malfunction and begin killing the human visitors; it was followed by the sequel film Futureworld (1976).
In 1980, there was a short-lived television series, Beyond Westworld. A television series called Westworld, produced by HBO and based on the original film, debuted on October 2, 2016. A second season aired in April 2018, with a third season ordered the following month.Zero History
Zero History is a novel by William Gibson published in 2010. It concludes the informal trilogy begun by Pattern Recognition (2003) and continued by Spook Country (2007), and features the characters Hollis Henry and Milgrim from the latter novel as its protagonists.
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